Rev. Rick Warren, who is President-elect’s controversial pick to give the invocation at his inauguration on Jan. 20, will be the keynote speaker at Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church on the day before the Inauguration, Atlantic Progressive News reports. Before she passed away, King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, declared that gay marriage was a civil rights issue and denounced a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban it.
Chris Bowers has an interesting post looking at the composition of the Obama cabinet and concluding that the personnel is on average to the right of the average Democratic member of congress. It’s worth understanding, however, that the same methodology would lead to the conclusion that Obama’s cabinet is to the right [CORRECTION: by "to the right" I mean "to the left"] of the veto points in congress. Those points are the median member of the House (a Blue Dog) and in the Senate either a centrist Democrat for things requiring a majority or else someone like Susan Collins to break a filibuster. It’s those characters who determine the scope of what’s possible legislatively. And though I think progressives will have many disappointments in the coming years, many more of those disappointments will come because something good Obama proposes gets watered-down in congress than because congress wants to do something good and somehow gets thwarted by the White House.
I was watching West Wing re-runs over the weekend and it’s an interesting thought experiment in the “what if Bill Clinton had been more left-wing?” hypothetical. It makes a big difference in some areas, including judicial nominees and Israel-Palestine diplomacy, but on core domestic policy issues there was no plausible script to write in which Bartlett being a big lib led the congressional GOP to suddenly surrender on expansive new social spending.
This is hardly a policy issue of earth-shattering importance, but David Alpert’s right that it sure would be nice if the District of Columbia put all the official review filings pertaining to new developments online. And, of course, much the same applies to other states and municipalities. In this day and age, really anything that any government agency makes available to people who show up at an office and ask to see a paper copy of ought to be made available online. It’s just common sense that information available to the public should be made available to the public in the most convenient way.
Earlier this month, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto hosted the second in a series of so-called “Munk Debates” on public policy. This particular debate asked the participants if the international community should intervene in man-made humanitarian crises if the national governments involved fail to act. International Crisis Group CEO Gareth Evans and actor/activist Mia Farrow said the international community should intervene, arguing it has a “responsibility to protect.” However, former Bush administration war hawk John Bolton and Canadian military General Rick Hillier argued against. Bolton, in particular, offered some callous advice to those in favor of humanitarian intervention:
BOLTON: Now I recognize, that the motives of those who advocate responsibility to protect is well intentioned and I respect those who believe in it as a doctrine and I would simply say this to all of you and I say it to you with respect. If you want to engage in humanitarian intervention, do it with your own sons and daughters, not with mine.
Of course Bolton is a staunch supporter of the Iraq war and has spent the better part of the last year calling for one with Iran. Presumably he would have no problem sending his children to fight there.
I like a band called Metric that, while quite popular in Canada, isn’t so well-known in the United States. And since they’re a pretty “political” band, I think they’re a group a lot of readers of this blog might be interested in. Thus, I’m going to embed on the blog this music video of their song “Succexxy” that was released back in 2004 and that I think does a great job of capturing the insane spirit of the Summer of the War back in 2002:
By embedding the video, I’m exposing the band to a wider audience. Maybe some of you will like the song and the video. And maybe some of those people will buy a Metric album. Win-win!
But it seems that’s not how Warner Music Group sees things:
Warner Music said it would pull hundreds of thousands of videos from the site following the collapse of talks with the Google-owned company about renegotiating a content-sharing deal. “We simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide,” the group said. Warner Music added that it was “working actively” to find a resolution with YouTube.
As Ta-Nehisi Coates says:
A music video is nothing more than a really expensive ad. It’s amazing that these guys want YouTube to pay them for the right to show their videos. They should be trying to leverage the viewers into buyers. These guys are straight out 1963. They deserve whatever’s coming to them in this economy.
Of course Metric’s not a Warner group, so I’m still free to help them promote their work without paying them a fee for my trouble.
The overall ThinkProgress bossman Faiz Shakir has a post over at the main ThinkProgress blog addressing the Third Way controversy that I think everyone interested in this subject should read.
And since it’s a slow news day, a lot of people seem interested so I thought I should write something myself to address this. So here goes:
I wish the guest post from Jennifer Palmieri that I put up Sunday evening had been handled differently in a variety of ways since just sticking it on the blog and then going to bed seems to have given people a lot of misleading notions about the site being somehow “hijacked.” But when you get right down to it, all she was doing was reiterating what’s always been the case — I’m posting un-screened posts on an un-edited blog and covering every issue under the sun. Under the circumstances, it’s better for me, better for CAP and CAPAF, and better for everyone to understand that I’m writing as an individual not as the voice of the institution. Pointing that fact out isn’t contrary to me having an independent voice, it’s integral to having one. Nobody has deleted my post criticizing Third Way, or forced me to retract those criticisms, or prevented me from following up with a more substantive critique of something they wrote. And most of all, contrary to some of the crazier stuff I’ve read in comments, it’s not as if the senior management is leaning over my shoulder censoring every posts. For one thing, if someone was leaning over my shoulder there wouldn’t be all these typos. More seriously, the whole point of clarifying that things I write don’t automatically become “official” CAP/AF positions is that nobody is leaning over my shoulder. I’m not getting the stuff pre-approved or pre-screened by anyone, so sometimes I say stuff that other people here wouldn’t say. That’s the nature of a large organization, and especially of a large organization where different people have different roles. My role is to say what I think on the blog; that’s what I’ve always done and will keep doing.
Many throughout the blogosphere have been weighing in on the decision by our acting CEO, Jennifer Palmieri, to write a guest post on Matt Yglesias’ ThinkProgress blog in defense of the group Third Way.
Palmieri’s post was meant to clarify that ThinkProgress blogs don’t speak for the entire institution all the time — as has always been the policy. And that’s a good thing, because it means we are afforded great editorial independence to convey our honest views. Some of the criticisms of this incident are fair, but some are not.
The point that is getting lost in this debate is the fact that Palmieri’s post underscores our editorial independence, not diminishes it.
Suffice it to say that there was internal disagreement about the issue of Third Way’s effectiveness. At a different institution under different circumstances, Matt Yglesias would have had to submit his criticism of Third Way to be approved by higher-ups prior to publishing his post. Here at the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), however, he was given the opportunity to issue his criticism, and then allowed Palmieri an opportunity to issue a different opinion. That made for a transparent and open debate. And it’s something we’ve done a few times in the past.
The ThinkProgress blogs will oftentimes write items that are bolder, more strident, or more critical than what others here at the institution may be comfortable with. In my experience over the past four years here at CAPAF, that editorial freedom has allowed ThinkProgress to be on the leading edge of breaking news and analysis. And rest assured, we’ll continue to speak our mind freely.
Yglesias shares his thoughts and corrects some misimpressions here.
Our guest blogger is Daniel J. Weiss, a Senior Fellow and the Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
America’s coal industry is blowing smoke on the American public, misleadingly hyping its commitment to cleaning up its act. A series of feel-good ads this year showcased a variety of people straight from central casting saying “I believe in…Clean Coal. America’s Power.” These ads were sponsored by the American Council for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), an industry group comprised of 48 coal and utility companies. ACCCE spent at least $45 million on advertising this year to convince Americans that coal is a clean panacea to the world’s problems.
Despite the ads’ claims, an analysis by the Center of American Progress determined that ACCCE’s companies spend relatively few dollars conducting research on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), the experimental but promising technology that would allow power plants to capture 85 percent or more of their carbon dioxide emissions and permanently store them underground in geological formations. CAP’s analysis found that the 48 ACCCE companies made a combined profit of $57 billion in 2007 while investing over several years only $3.5 billion in CCS research.
ACCCE companies combined made $17 in 2007 profits for every $1 invested in CCS research over several years. This is a very generous estimate, because the analysis includes several projects that haven’t yet begun. Nonetheless, the research funding over a number of years is dwarfed by the profits for a single year. The 18 CCS projects by ACCCE companies have a lifetime cost of $5.7 billion, or one-tenth of the ACCCE companies’ profits in 2007 alone. Of this total cost, the ACCCE companies would eventually spend $3.5 billion on these projects, based on our analysis of publicly available data. The Department of Energy would provide an additional $1.9 billion. [CAP, 12/22/08]
With such relatively small investments in CCS research, it’s no wonder that it may take many years to develop and commercialize the technology. The lack of investment reinforces the notion that the real purpose of the clean coal campaign is to postpone requirements to reduce emissions. Read more
On MSNBC this afternoon, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) repeated his criticism of President-elect Obama’s decision to invite Rick Warren to deliver the Inaugural invocation, calling Warren’s views on homosexuality “deeply offensive.” Frank said Obama “overestimates his ability” to “charm” conservative opponents to his side, and joked that he missed the days of partisanship:
I think he overestimates his ability to take people — particularly our colleagues on the Right — and sort of charm them into being nice. I know he talks about being post-partisan. But I’ve worked frankly with Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and the current Republican leadership. … When he talks about being post partisan, having seen these people and knowing what they would do in that situation, I suffer from post partisan depression.
The Tech Team has implemented a new something or other that ensures that any comments I leave on posts will have special formatting so as to indicate that they were written by the genuine article (I’ll go comment on this post as soon as it’s up for illustrative purposes). Any other comments are being left by fakers. Along the same lines, some comments today have been signed by “Jennifer Palmieri” or other CAP officials and in case anyone’s confused people should understand that those are all fakes. I believe that kind of thing is technically a violation of our terms, and thus we reserve the right to delete such posts. In practice, we’re not going to do that because I think this has mostly been people joking around and I’m all for having a fun and humorous comment section. But if things get out of hand that may have to be revisited.